Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare (1975)
With Welcome To My Nightmare, singer Vincent Damon officially adopted his previous band’s name and reintroduced himself to the world as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most iconic performers. No longer a full band, Alice Cooper became a horror-film-inspired, vaudevillian master of ceremonies. The proceedings aren’t as shocking today as they were in 1975, but that’s largely due to the tremendous influence these tracks had on subsequent generations of heavy metal performers. Thankfully, immense shock value was far from the only thing in Alice Cooper’s favor.
‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ is a timeless, dark, and dirty lounge croon that is as sexy as it is sadistic. Despite the potent influence of horror films, ‘Only Women Bleed’ reveals more humanity than monstrosity. The ultimate gem, though, is the chilling epic ‘Steven’. This brutal tale of lost innocence, murder, violence, and perversion is told through multiple perspectives and bolstered by relentless theatrics.
Alice Cooper’s nightmare is an absolute delight. – Jeremy Schaefer
Reel upon reel of sensations we should have claimed as our own dissolve into wasted nothingness, and wasted nothingness reflects right back at us in every dry-as-dust windowpane encountered, scolding the tunnel vision with which we broach our everyday. We crave the tangs and pangs of openness. Willingness. Eagerness. Jumpiness. Dizziness. Welcoming the offing rather than cordoning it off.
Breaking from the clutches is simple and unnerving all at once, as we weigh the creature comforts of our routine against the gilded prospects of an unknown we can’t summon out of the blue. As luck would have it, the blue has come calling to us — a bottomless ocean of dubs that aren’t merely enormous, but quicksilver as well, moving to the decrees of the sea, redefined with each ripple and roller, peeling seams off, piling seams on, inflaming our formerly insipid purview. It’s insanity, and the Voice of Thunder insinuates as much from his perch in the clouds, cautioning us that a primrose path is no guarantee in the untamed depths.
Matters may well get out of hand. That’s precisely what we’re after, though. Believing in forces far vaster than our volition.
For a sweltering half-hour, the atmosphere is smoggy and smoky as can be. Rhythms are scrambled, recycled, fast-forwarded, rewound, beaming in suspended animation, quaking with indomitable verve, burying our bearings so that we take in the totality of the abyss’ bounty. The density heightens our sensitivity to the drop-offs, wonderfully soulful passages that drive home why it is we’re even hunkering down in this tempermental minefield. Still, Prince Far I’s stormy forecasts loom large atop the surreal reggae surges, a scabrous, authoritative croak preaching about potential maelstroms. As beguiling as it seems, this big blue bastion could turn on its denizens before long. We wade on, nevertheless, for the barbs and bristles in these pipes harbor the blood-curdling galvanism of newness. The thrill of cutting through the fog by the seat of our pants. If we’re met with an interminable stream of words to the wise, hell, if we run into numberless hurdles along this fateful road, doesn’t that suggest we’re actually, finally onto something?
A most dangerous thread is spinning in our head. This prism paints our visions in considerably brighter and more chromatic tints, absorbing our ceaseless jitters, undressing them to bare bones, and unleashing them as the promise of…promise.
We’re in deep. – Vinh Cao